But most important: these impressions are excellent music and hi-fi Fun with a capital "F"! Here are sounds and effects to gladden the tweeters and woofers of the most critical hi-fi addict, coupled with interesting melodies, exciting rhythms and adventurous harmonies.
The album has been carefully designed for stereophonic reproduction. The interplay of music and effects between the tracks creates an amazing illusion of motion. The listener is transported to the scene of activity, becoming a part of the musical drama. It would be difficult to find a recording more ideally suited for the demonstration and enjoyment of stereophonic equipment.
Orienta is not without its serious moments. Indeed, it is primarily a serious artistic effort. Impeccably written, performed and recorded, the album is a study in mood and sound, delightfully combining music and sound effects to tell stories of humor, romance, intrigue and life in the Orient.
Arranger-conductor Gerald Fried has accomplished these ends by skillful writing and the use of a wide assortment of woodwind and rhythm instruments. During the recording sessions the studio was virtually filled with percussion instruments, as many as twenty-five of them at one time. These were played by five of the nation's top percussionists, each of whom "doubled" on several instruments. This astounding array of paraphernalia prompted one of the musicians to quip: "Why don't they hire that Oriental god with six or eight arms?" Many hours were spent in preparing, recording and editing the music and authentic sound effects to insure the finest stereophonic reproduction.
Rimsky-Korsakoff's Song of India finds the ancient music of the Beggars' Procession vying for attention with the sounds of a country struggling to become modern. A light jazz inflection underlines the contrast.
Yokohama Ferryboat takes the listener on a picturesque
journey in an antique boat. Gulls, whistles and milling passengers accompany the musical
tourist as the boat huffs and puffs into the slip, pouring the commuters into the teeming
When an American sailor wanders into the Singapore hot-spot called Madam Sloe Gin's", he finds Oriental honky-tonk jazz, booze and girls. Getting his fill of the first two, he leaves with the latter to seek further adventures.
When The Girl Friend of a Whirling Dervish asks a touring jazz group to accompany her dancer friend, the poor Dervish has a rough time catching the beat. He finally gets "hip," however, and turns out to be a swinger.
Tlie Raymond Scott composition, Mountain High, Valley Low,
is used to frame the story of a Princess who periodically descends from her mountain
sanctuary to address her Chinese subjects. Having intoned her benediction, she returns to
the hills. Marni Nixon provides tin-voice of the Princess.
Tlie Night of the Tiger takes the listener to the interior of India where a festival is in progress. The roar of a tiger throws the celebrants into a panic which fasts until the "swish" of a hunting spear and the death cry of the big cat announce that the festival may continue in peace.
In the Harry Warren song Nagasaki, humor runs rampant.
Tlie listener envisions the selection being played by a traditional Japanese orchestra,
the members of which are gradually replaced by modern jazz and rock-'n'-roll enthusiasts.